At the practical level, the French government was unlikely to invoke the treaty guarantees because it was in France's interest for the United States to remain a neutral carrier of vital supplies, especially foodstuffs.
Jefferson insisted that the best course for the United States was to delay any formal action and use its economic leverage to force the belligerent powers (read: Britain) to "bid for [American] neutrality" on American terms.
"Nobody answers him, & his doctrine will therefore be taken for confessed.
For God's sake, my dear Sir, take up your pen, select the most striking heresies, and cut him to pieces in the face of the public.
In the end, on April 22, 1793, Washington decided to issue what became known as the Neutrality Proclamation (although the word neutrality, at Jefferson's behest, did not appear in the document).
Whereas it appears that a state of war exists between Austria, Prussia, Sardinia, Great Britain, and the United Netherlands, of the one part, and France on the other; and the duty and interest of the United States require, that they should with sincerity and good faith adopt and pursue a conduct friendly and impartial toward the belligerent Powers; I have therefore thought fit by these presents to declare the disposition of the United States to observe the conduct aforesaid towards those Powers respectfully; and to exhort and warn the citizens of the United States carefully to avoid all acts and proceedings whatsoever, which may in any manner tend to contravene such disposition.
It included states such as France, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom and Italy.
Had the President usurped Congress's power to declare war by issuing a preemptive declaration of peace?
Few Americans wanted to enter the conflict openly but those grateful for past French support, and sympathetic to the Revolutionary cause and the rights of mankind, demanded something better than a cold, legalistic approach.
And I do hereby also make known, that whatsoever of the citizens of the United States shall render himself liable to punishment or forfeiture under the law of nations, by committing, aiding, or abetting hostilities against any of the said Powers, or by carrying to any of them those articles which are deemed contraband by the modern usage of nations, will not receive the protection of the United States, against such punishment or forfeiture; and further, that I have given instructions to those officers, to whom it belongs, to cause prosecutions to be instituted against all persons, who shall, within the cognizance of the courts of the United States, violate the law of nations, with respect to the Powers at war, or any of them.
The President, however, accepted Jefferson's argument about the legitimacy of the French Republic, the validity of the Franco-American treaties, and the need to accept its new Minister without reservations.
Minister Genet's provocative approach to relations between the two republics complicated matters further. Hamilton argued that mutual interest and reciprocal advantage were much sounder bases for relations among nations than gratitude.